I bought a 2012 TDI JSW, 6 speed manual with sunroof and nav at the beginning of summer. I wanted a Golf, but went with a JSW because a) I really like the huge panoramic sunroof, and b) it's got a lot of extra storage on the same wheelbase, i.e. you don't give up much in handling. VW claims the JSW has 66.9 cubic feet of storage with the rear seat folded, vs. 64 cubic feet in a Touareg with the rear seat folded (and 57.4 in an E class wagon). I believe it, I had the rear seats down for the first time on Thursday and used it to move furniture; it's spacious (getting the rear headrests off takes a screwdriver and two people per the manual, though, which is stupid). I get around 38 mpg on average in a heavy urban freeway commute, and around 43-45 in highway driving; it's only got 2200 miles, so it'll improve with break-in. I wish it were a bit bigger on the inside, but that's another way of saying I either need to lose weight or swap it for a Passat.
The build quality and interior materials are excellent for the price point. I agree that the sound system is less than optimal, but I'm spoiled in other cars; the one thing that pushed me toward the Golf was the Dynaudio option. I don't use the nav much - nav without traffic in LA is useless, I use Google maps on the iPhone - and I'm happy enough with the bluetooth. It's not a BMW or an MB, but it's a lot of car for the money. If I still have it a year from now, I'll get a discounted extended warranty from Chris Farnham; with the HPFP issues, this is a car I don't want to own out of warranty. All that said, if, God forbid, I ever had to live with just one car, this would probably be it.
Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil - and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil. - Saudi Oil Minister Sheik Yamani, in 2000
Ursa Major screwed with this post 01-07-2013 at 10:58 PM